United States v. Hatch, No. 18-1282 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Hatch illegally brought handguns into Chicago three times. Over the next year, Chicago police recovered five of these guns—some from felons and one from a minor. Hatch told his friend Driver, who had used her identification to purchase some of the guns in Indiana, not to divulge any information, but she admitted that she purchased guns for him. Hatch told a probation officer that he was a straw buyer for Kemp: he bought the guns for Kemp and did not know why Kemp wanted them. Hatch pleaded guilty to unlawfully transporting firearms, 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3), 924(a)(1)(D). The judge calculated a Guidelines range of 30-37 months, then applied the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors and imposed a 55-month sentence. The judge said that Hatch’s family, job, and lack of prior felonies “appear to be in his favor,” but the nature of the offense was “troubling,” and Hatch failed to accept responsibility fully because he denied knowing what the guns were for. The judge gave statistics, attributing the spike in Chicago’s homicides to guns from Indiana, and discussed the effect of gun violence in the city, concluding that the Guidelines did not adequately reflect the seriousness of Hatch’s offense or sufficiently deter firearm trafficking. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. A judge may depart from the Guidelines based on locality-specific factors.